When you think about taking up a hobby, you probably think about gardening, running, painting, or something along those lines. Have you ever thought about choosing to travel as a hobby? There was a point in time, where my need for a hobby and my interest in adventure collided. And what was born was one of the most beautifully rewarding hobbies of my entire life: traveling.
Through all my years of traveling, I have discovered many reasons why traveling is a beneficial hobby, and, today, I would love to share some of them with you.
With that in mind, I have encountered many people who have questioned me when I tell them that my favorite hobby is traveling. To clarify things a bit, the Oxford Dictionary definition of the word “hobby” is: “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure”. In terms of this definition, that is precisely what travel is to me. If you want to learn about the 21 benefits of traveling as a hobby, read on below to see how I have unpacked each point for you.
These are 21 benefits and advantages of choosing travel as a hobby:
1. Your overall health improves.
Yup, it’s true. Travel improves your health. “How?” you might ask. Well, travel reduces stress, eliminates daily anxieties, lowers blood pressure, and boosts mental health by taking your mind off the worries of your regular life.
2. You get to disconnect from your everyday life.
Hobbies are designed to help people disconnect from all that is happening in their life and take some time out to just relax, regroup, and find new strength to keep going.
3. It opens your mind and increases your horizons.
Having an open mind is what helps people get further in life. When you are in a foreign country and surrounded by all that is strange, you learn a lot, your mind becomes more open to unusual things, and you start to think beyond the confines of your desk and the four walls of your home.
4. You get to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is all about being 100% in the current moment, truly experiencing it, without your mind wandering onto other things. While traveling, it is hard to think about the worries from back home. You get to truly live in the moment.
5. You distance yourself from social dramas/ruts.
While at home, socializing with your “regular crowd”, you tend to get caught up in all the unnecessary and inconsequential drama and ruts. When you travel, you remove yourself from that type of scenario and when you return, you will be less prone to get involved or caught up in such behavior (of course, your mind will be too busy thinking about your next trip).
6. Your confidence and self-esteem improve.
When traveling, you will meet so many different types of people and cultures that you will realize that there is value in being who you are. People will be interested in you, just as you are in them. As a result, self-confidence and self-esteem improve.
7. You develop empathy and compassion.
Some of the destinations I have traveled to have been beautiful, yet poverty-stricken. You start to realize just how hard life can be, even if you are in an “idyllic” part of the world. As I started to realize the plight of others less fortunate than me, I found myself becoming more compassionate and empathetic.
8. You get to develop cultural awareness.
When you stay in one place your whole life, you don’t get much exposure to other cultures. Lack of understanding can often lead to the persecution and mistreatment of others, or confusion about the values of others. While traveling, I have learned so much about different cultures that it has made me more aware and open-minded to the differences of other people and why they might be different to me. It’s truly a transcendent experience.
9. Your self-awareness improves.
Knowing yourself, who you are, what you want, and what you like (or don’t like) is essential. With the lifestyles we lead, it’s often hard to figure these things out. Some people don’t figure it out over an entire lifetime. When you are traveling, you quickly learn about yourself and can become more self-aware.
10. You get to meet new people & develop existing relationships.
Many people take up hobbies such as cooking classes and pottery so that they can meet new people while learning a fun, new skill. Traveling is just the same. While traveling, you will meet many people along the way. I have made friends in bars, yes, but also while hiking, doing touristy activities, trying local food, and strolling through markets – you will too!
11. You are challenged to grow as a person.
Not all travel destinations will be as you imagined them to be. This is one of my favorite reasons why travel is a great hobby. When you travel to a destination on your bucket list, you get to see the place through new eyes – realistic eyes. Some of the adventures will be smooth sailing, but some won’t – and that’s where the challenge comes in.
For me, tropical destinations were first on my travel hit list. I envisioned sipping cocktails on the beach, tanning to a golden brown, island hopping, and attending moon parties at night. In reality, all of those things did happen, except I had unexpected seasickness, which isn’t great when you are slow-boating from one island to the next. It was outrageously challenging, and I can honestly say that I grew as a person!
12. You get to try new things.
Everyday life can become quite monotonous. Life becomes interesting when you personally add some new activities to it. If you find that you spend a lot of time on the TV, phone or computer, get off your comfort zone and start planning a trip. While traveling you will eat strange foods, see unusual things, gaze out at the most beautiful scenes, see things that quite frankly shock you, and maybe even learn a new skill along the way.
Learning new things is quite an important part of choosing a hobby, which makes travel a great choice.
13. You create lifelong memories.
One day, hopefully far in the future, you’ll look back on your life and all the trips you have been, and realize that it was a life well spent. Memories are all we are really left with at the end of the day. Absolutely nothing else lasts forever.
14. You can combine travel with other hobbies.
Traveling as a hobby for me is great as I get to combine it with other hobbies that I thoroughly enjoy. For instance, I have a pretty good camera that I put to the test on each trip. Travel photography is a highly enjoyable hobby. You could also plan activities in each travel destination that are in line with your current hobbies. For instance, you can attend cooking classes, practice yoga with other yogis, go to a painting course, surf – whatever your additional hobbies may be, you can celebrate and enjoy them anywhere in the world.
15. Your creativity gets a good boost.
While being exposed to so many things that are out of the norm while traveling, you are sure to get a creativity boost. Your mind starts to realize that the way you have always thought and done things is not the only way and that’s a great way to start thinking out of the box.
16. You get to have pure fun.
When you’re at home, having fun can often be tainted by the responsibilities that await you. Perhaps it’s cooking for the family, work the next day, a messy house to clean, and so on. While you are on holiday, there’s nothing else for you to do but have fun. And you will.
17. You learn the value of solitude and self-care.
I have traveled alone on many occasions and truly found the experiences rewarding. Transferring through airports isn’t fun alone; neither is waiting for flights or running into transport issues while trying to get from one attraction to the next. What is fun is being able to do everything you want to do without having to worry about someone else. It’s quite a freeing feeling. It allows you to practice self-care by doing what you want to do and actually spoiling just yourself for a change.
18. You gather interesting stories to tell.
Have you ever sat listening to someone talking at a social gathering and thought “wow, that person is interesting”? Well, now you can be that interesting person. Your travel adventures will definitely change your conversations from small talk to entertaining story-telling.
19. There is always a new adventure to look forward to.
Often in life we stagnate. Even our hobbies stagnate. You might find yourself doing less gardening or finding less time to head out to that evening pottery class. This is where traveling is a different type of hobby. You will always have an adventure to look forward to and once the travel bug bites, you certainly won’t want to, or allow yourself to stagnate.
20. You learn the value of authentic experiences.
I’m the type of traveler that avoids the expensive deals and books things separately. This means that I don’t spend my trip in a luxury resort. I get out there and experience things. When you are driving with a local in a rickety car or sitting in a truly local (not tourist aimed) restaurant/pub and meeting genuine people, you learn to appreciate the true, realistic things in life. And there’s great value in that.
21. You return feeling refreshed and ready to “go”.
One of the greatest rewards about traveling as a hobby is that you get home feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to work, because you know that there is another trip coming up in the near future.
After reading through these benefits of traveling as a hobby, how do you feel about it? Are you ready to begin booking your next trip? I think you are!